Is Teaching Hazardous to Your Health?
Educators appear more prone to autoimmune diseases
(HealthDay) -- A new study from the University of Connecticut found that teachers are more prone to developing autoimmune diseases than people in other lines of work, reports this Hartford Courant article that appeared in Kentucky's Lexington Herald-Leader.
Autoimmune diseases are caused when the body's immune system mistakenly turns against itself and attacks healthy cells rather than invading germs. About 80 disorders are considered autoimmune diseases, including diabetes, lupus and multiple sclerosis. Researchers aren't sure yet what causes the body to attack itself, but they suspect there are multiple reasons.
This most recent study suggests that exposure to infectious diseases may play a role in the development of autoimmune diseases. The researchers found that teachers between 35 and 44 years old had a greater chance of dying from an autoimmune disease than people in other careers. And, high school teachers had the highest risk of all.
These findings emphasize the need to search for a common trigger for autoimmune diseases, say the researchers. "We should not treat them as unrelated conditions," says study author Stephen Walsh, an assistant professor of community medicine at the University of Connecticut.